Monday, November 28, 2011

The latest pictures

 Gretchen, Sister Robinette, Sister Jones, and President and Sister Smart

 Gretchen's first baptism, Mark--the tall one in the center.

Helping their investigator family decorate for Christmas.

Thanksgiving and thanks for Baptism!

Hello everyone!
This week was a good week! We had Thanksgiving, plus a baptism!
So our baptism was for Mark Trzcinski. He is a 41 year old man, who is so excited about the gospel. We are so excited for him. The baptism was wonderful. I gave the opening prayer, and then we had a wonderful talk by Sister Hench, one of the senior missionaries in the ward. Then Elder Hench, Sister Hench's husband (of course :) ) baptized Mark. Mark is a tall man, so it was a little hard to get him all the way under, but Elder Hench did it well. :) Then we had some welcomes to the ward. Mark was confirmed a member of the church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday by Elder Hench. That was an amazing blessing and Mark was crying by the end. It was wonderful to see how happy he was!
After Mark's baptism, Savannah, the 10 year old girl, had her baptismal interview! She is ready to go for this Saturday. Sister Robinette sneakily volunteered me to do a talk for that baptism. I will be speaking on baptism for Savannah... It doesn't have to be long, so hopefully it will be okay. :)
Miracle of the week: We taught Joyce, Savannah's mother, about Tithing last week and she said that she wasn't sure if she could pay it. We told her that she would be able to and she would be blessed for it. So, the next time we taught her, she was filling out her tithing slip as we were there! It was one of the greatest testimonies of faith that I have seen on my mission thus far. Whenever we tell Joyce about a commandment, she does it. That same day, we taught about the Word of Wisdom. Joyce has been drinking coffee and she didn't even know it was bad. As soon as we explained it to her she said, "Drinking coffee is a sin? I didn't even know." She said she just bought a new package of coffee and she was going to take it back to the store. She said she would start weaning off and that she would stop. There were no questions asked! She just said she would do it!
Then the best part is the next day at the baptism, she leans over to me and says,"I only drank a little bit of coffee this morning, and it didn't even taste good! I didn't even want to drink it." It was amazing. As I type it to you, I feel the spirit. I know that Heavenly Father is blessing her so much as she is coming back to church and trying to live the commandments. She can see the difference. More importantly, she can FEEL the difference. When we were explaining to her and Savannah about the gift of the Holy Ghost, Joyce asked us if the reason she was feeling so much better now and could feel those "good feelings" from the Spirit was because she was doing the right thing now and before she could feel that because she wasn't always doing the right. We told her that was exactly right! The Holy Ghost is coming back into her life and she can feel the difference. She is an amazing woman!
So I am going to attach some pictures from the baptism! And maybe a couple of more. :)
The baptism one is Sister Robinette, Sister Hench, Mark Trzcinski, Elder Hench, Me, and Sister Jones.
The next one is Joyce, Nicholas, Savannah, and the three of us. We helped decorate their home for Christmas! :)
Then there is one of us at the mission home when we picked up Sister Jones. :)
So Mom asked about Thanksgiving. Not going to lie, but holidays are pretty boring on the mission. We aren't allowed to teach lessons or do anything really except our studies and then have dinner and hang out with our zone. We did play some volleyball with some other sister missionaries, played some games with our zone, and then had a very nice dinner at our Ward mission leaders' home, BrotherMontgomery, but other days are better than holidays. :) It was semi-relaxing, but I like getting out and teaching more! If we aren't busy, I think about home too much. ;)
Life is great here is Highland! I miss you all lots though. You are the best part of holidays, so that makes it a little hard, but I am glad I am here! Next holiday I get to talk to all of you (hopefully skype!)!
I am most thankful for you all! I love you so much and hope and pray you are all doing well. :)
Missionary work is the best! The Church is true! Jesus Christ lives and we are children of God. :)
Mom, Thank you for the package! It was wonderful! :)
Love you all siempre,
Sister Schillemat 
I said a prayer in Spanish today! The prayer consisted of "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for my family. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." It was short, but it was in Spanish! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Big Changes, Miracles and Good News

Hello Family!
So I laughed last week after I found out that we were getting a new companion and I had told you that nothing was going to change really! Sister Jones, from Baton Rouge, LA, is our newest companion. She is straight from the MTC, just like me! It makes it an interesting situation because I am still in the training process, but the last six weeks of it, and Sister Jones is brand new, so we are kind of starting all over. I am not the trainer, but I am kind of the side-kick to Sister Robinette... hehe The reason for the trio is because Sister Robinette and all the other missionaries going home are leaving a week early because of Christmas. So...I needed a companion for the last week of this transfer. So I will be a trainer for at least a week! :) Then we don't really know what will happen, but we are excited for this transfer! Great things are already happening... Ready for them? Here you go...
We have a baptism this Saturday, November 26th! And December 3rd! And December 10th! All of them are looking pretty good so far. Mark is being baptized this Saturday and he just had his interview this morning, so we are pretty much good to go on that one. He is so excited! He is the guy that showed up three weeks ago and just said he wanted to be baptized. I could tell from the very beginning how much he wanted to take this step in his life and we are so excited! It is amazing to see how much he has repented and used the repentance process in his life. He hasn't told us much about his past, but he told us last week that he was in tears on his bed, asking for repentance. He truly understands and is sorry for what he is done. I still struggle to fully understand repentance, but Mark is a wonderful example. 
On December 3rdSavannah, a 10 year old girl, is planning to be baptism. MIRACLE OF THE WEEK! Savannah's dad said she could get baptized! On one condition: That he would get a picture! We can totally do that. :) Savannah's dad is not really in the picture and is not a very nice man from what we have heard, and Joyce, Savannah's mom, was worried about getting permission, but he said it was okay. :) It was amazing and truly a miracle. 
Last, but certainly not least, Yvonne Rivera is a referral we received from the ward. We think that she just called the ward building for more information and then we received her contact information, but that is not important...  We met with her last Friday. She said that she grew up Catholic and her mother never let her explore other religions. Yvonne said she's been drawn to the Mormon church for a while and is now dating a member. She loves how family oriented it is and was just excited to learn. At the end of the lesson, she said, "I know this is where I belong. I just have a warm feeling and am getting emotional." We testified that it was the Spirit testifying of the truth of the message. She came to church yesterday and brought her two children. She committed to be baptized on December 10thand we just received a call from her this morning, asking if we could meet more often so that she would be prepared. Also, she has some cousins that are members and they are going to attend and were wondering if they could bring refreshments! How great is that?! We are just so excited for her. She is so prepared and I know that the Lord is blessing us in this area.
One of my favorite Miracles of the week (I try to look for miracles every day and I write them down at the end of the day...I would try doing that! There are so many miracles.): We were at Frances Baggerman's home and she told us to sit down. She said she had lost her cell phone and was searching for it when we showed up. After we sat down, she continued searching for it. Five minutes went by... (probably) and she still hadn't found it. We didn't really know how to help, but I said a prayer in my mind that she would find it. I started looking around a little as I sat in the couch. I looked behind me at a shelve and then I thought about how everything is ALWAYS in the couch. If you lose it, that is where you should check. So, I looked at the side of the couch, thought a saw something, and reached down, and it was the phone! Literally a minute after I had said the quick prayer. I knew that Heavenly Father had answered that prayer. Frances said she had already looked in the couch, but hadn't seen it, but there it was! Heavenly Father never fails. I have done that so many times and I always find what I am missing. And this time was no different. It strengthened my testimony that prayer really works. He is listening. I know that is true!
So Thanksgiving is this week and I will definitely get plenty to eat! I am excited for turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. :)
There are way too many things I am grateful for, but here are a few:
All of you. My family. Being on a mission is wonderful, but I miss you all so much. We are so blessed to have our family. We have been extremely blessed, especially spiritually. Poul mentioned how all of us who are old enough to have gone to the temple have gone, and I have releized how blessed we are. To have six out of seven children already endowed is a huge blessed and privilege that our family has. Mama and Papa, thank you for all that you have done! You raised some good kids and it was because you always loved and respected us that we are the way we are. Thank you! I love you so much Kirstin, Poul, Andrea, Johanna, Peder, and Geoffrey. You are my best friends. :)
The gospel. We would not be the family that we are without the gospel. I know that is true. I am so grateful that I was taught about faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end so early in life. I know that truly is a blessing.
My mission. I am so glad that I am here. I am glad to be serving the people in California at this time. This is truly rewarding and helps me see how blessed I have always been. I love being here.
An education. I love my gospel education and math education. :) The gospel one is sooo important here on the mission, but I have been able to help people with math as well. :)
A loving Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Without my Savior, I would be nothing. I love that we are given the opportunity to repent and use the Savior's Atonement everyday to become better. One thing I love is: repentance is all about love; our love for our Savior, Jesus Christ and His love for us.
There are so many more: scriptures, in particular The Book of Mormon, church leaders, chocolate... Lots and lots!
But most especially it is all of you. I love you so much! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I miss you! I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. The Church is so true!
Lots of Love,
Sister Schillemat
Challenge for the week: Look for at least one miracle a day and write it down. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Transfer #2 begins

This past week has been a good one! I have made it successfully through another transfer so that is great! Plus our whole district is staying the same since 3 of us came from the MTC together, so there won't be many changes this transfer. But Sister Robinette is going home after this transfer! I am scared...Really scared... ;) But it will be okay! I know it will, but it will be different. She really is amazing. I love her so much and we get along so well! :)
Well, we have an exciting investigator! His name is Mark. He came to church by himself last week and we met him. He said he wanted to be baptized! So we met with him twice last week and this morning and he is set for baptism on Nov. 26th! We are so excited and he is excited. Yesterday while at church, Mark's arm was hurting him badly. He had told us that it was hurting earlier that week, but it was really bad during sacrament. After sacrament, Elder Hench (a senior missionary in our ward) and Bishop Denkers gave him a blessing and his arm didn't hurt him anymore. Mark now has a strong testimony of the priesthood. I know that the priesthood is the authority of God on earth. I know that priesthood blessings are from our Heavenly Father and that miracles come from faith and blessings. I am so grateful for you, Dad, and Poul, and  so many others who have given me priesthood blessings. I know that I have been blessed from on high. Thank you for worthily holding the priesthood.
We are all excited for Mark! He is very excited and we are too. :) Pray that he will continue to have that strong desire to be baptized.
We had another experience with priesthood blessings last week. I told you about Joyce (Mom), Nicholas(12 year old son), and Savannah(10 year old daughter). We went to their house on Wednesday and things were not going well. Everyone was upset with each other. It was just not good. Sister Robinette asked everyone what was one thing that they wanted the other two to do to help them. Sorry that's a little confusing, but for example, Nicholas wanted Savannah to stop screaming in his ear. We started by asking them at and then we just talked with them. Joyce was having a really hard time, and I ended up talking with her for awhile, while Sister talked with Nicholas and Savannah. Joyce has a lot on her plate and she knows that her family needs to be more unified. I kept testifying of Jesus Christ's Atonement and how the Savior knows what we are going through. Then I asked her if she would like a blessing. She said that would be really nice. So two days later, the Hench's (The senior missionary couple...They are amazing by the way!) came and gave all three of them blessings. It was what they needed. Nicholas, who has ADHD, has a hard time focusing, and it was promised in his blessing that he would be baptized and that after receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, he would be more calm and teachable. That is an answer to Joyce's prayers. I know those blessings came from Heavenly Father!
The priesthood is amazing! I just love how much it has blessed my life and out family. We have been so blessed to always have the priesthood in our home. Thank you Dad, Poul, Peder, and Geoffrey. Thank you so much!
One Miracle of the week: Jeffrey Campos, a less active 13 (or 14) year old boy, read 10 chapters of The Book of Mormon last week and remembered a lot of what he read! It was amazing! He prayed as well. :) It truly was a miracle because he doesn't remember a lot about the church, but we hope and pray that he continues reading and learning!
Well, this week is looking good! We have dinner and two more appointments tonight, so we are very excited! (I am  always worried to tell you how many appointments are coming up because they often fall through, which is disappointing...But we just confirmed all of these appointments for this evening, so hopefully! Pray for us. :))
Life is good over here in California! I love hearing from all of you. I miss you all so much!
Mom, Good job at inviting people to church! That is amazing! Coming to church is so important, so keep asking. :)
Dad, How is work going? How are the high priests doing?
Kirstin, Jimmy, and Lucy, How are you all doing? How was Halloween? I would love to see pictures. :)
Poul, thanks for the email! It is good to hear from you. The living room must look pretty great because you, Mom, and Peder mentioned it! Send me pictures of that too. :)
Andrea, Roland, Liam, and Landon, Thanks for the pictures! They are sooo cute! I miss you all! Keep sending me emails. :)
Jo, How are you? I haven't heard from you recently. Fill me in!
Peder, I am so excited for you! Are you really in the MTC for 12 weeks? I thought it was just 9! That is a long time! I don't know if we are going to be able to talk on Christmas, but we'll keep emailing. Before you know it though, I will be able to talk to you, so don't worry about it too much. :)
Geoff, Thank you for the letter this week! I love hearing from you. How was your soccer banquet? How is school?
I love you all! Keep working hard. :)
Scripture of the week: 2 Nephi 33: 6. I glory in my Jesus. I really do. I know that he is my Savior and that he performed the Atonement for me personally. I love Jesus Christ and I am so blessed to be a witness of him. It is a privilege to be a missionary!
Have a great week! I am thankful for you all! I am thankful for the gospel! I am thankful for the restoration of the church! I am most thankful for Jesus Christ!
Sister Schillemat

Monday, November 7, 2011

The End of the First Transfer

Can you believe that? I am in the last week of the end of my first transfer! Although 6 weeks isn't very long in the scheme of my whole mission, it still has gone very fast!
This past week was a little more rough than normal. We went from having 21 lessons to 14 lessons. We had a lot cancel on us, but such as life. I think it was Saturday that we had 6 or 7 appointments set up and only 2 went through. It was just another phone call or text after another saying they were cancelling, but it was okay. It makes me appreciate all the times we have lessons go through! :)
So cool experience of the week: (There are a lot of them, but this is the one that I am thinking about right now... :) )
There was a former investigator Connie Smith who we stopped into the other week. We were able to teach her this week and at first she told us that she just wanted to learn, but not convert. We thought, okay that's fine, but we can at least teach her. The Spirit will touch her and we'll see what happens. We began teaching her about the Restoration and it was going well. She had already been taught most of the information because she had met with the missionaries before. We then talked about the example Jesus Christ set for us in 2 Nephi 31. I love verse 5 that says if Jesus Christ needs to be baptized and he is perfect, how much more do we need to be baptized! We shared that with Connie and then invited her to be baptized. Before I was even finished with the invitation, she was nodding her head, yes! It was wonderful! She told us that she had been dating a member before and had felt pressure to join the church, but wanted to do it for herself and not for him. That was the reason she stopped meeting with the missionaries. No that the "guy is out of the picture", she feels good about it. :) Her baptism date is November 27th. :)
Another family we are teaching is Joyce Salazar and her two children Nicholas and Savannah. We have been meeting with them for the past couple of weeks and they are a lot of fun. They LOVE having us over. It is always, "The sisters are here! The sisters are here!" Joyce is a less active member, who really doesn't remember anything about the church. She was baptized when she was a teenager and is now 50 and doesn't remember anything. She has been living in Highland for 10 years and it wasn't until the sisters tracted into her that her records were in the ward! Her son is 12 and Savannah is 10. Savannah is so excited about being baptized! She is set for December 3rd and is just so enthusiatic. We still have a lot to teach, but it is refreshing to see someone so excited to take that step. We are still working on Nicholas. He hasn't quite decided whether he wants to be baptized, but he has been praying, so we hope he will want to soon. :)
One thing that I have noticed since I have been here is how important a smile is. We have people commenting on how much we smile and how happy we look and I know it is because we have the gospel. We know about the great plan of salvation that Heavenly Father has provided for us. This brings so much hope and happiness to me. I know where I am going and what my ultimate goal is. There have been several people tell us that we have a "glow" and I know that is also from the gospel. I don't always understand exactly what that glow is, but I know that I am happy because I am sharing this wonderful message about Jesus Christ. :) I am helping others come unto Christ and find the joy from repentance. So remember to always SMILE and people will notice your glow. :)
Everything is going well out here! There are a lot of fun people out here and I really like the ward. :) I miss you all though. A lot sometimes, but I know that I am supposed to be here. I know that I am meant to be here. I read, "Cast not away therefore your confidence" by Elder Holland recently and I really love that talk. As we put our trust in the revelation or answer from Heavenly Father, we should not fear or flee from the inspiration that we have received. It is a great talk and you all should read it!
Yesterday I was able to bear my testimony in church. It is always so nice to do that! I really love bearing my testimony. I know that it is true that as we share our testimonies, they will grow!
Scripture for the week:
2 Nephi 28:30 "line upon line, precept upon precept...for unto him that receiveth I will give more"
I love this scripture because I know that is how I have learned through out my life. I have been taught since I was very little about the gospel, but I haven't received all the knowledge at once. We are baptized when we are 8 and make certain covenants. We continue to learn, receive our patriarchal blessing, and remain worthy so that we can do baptisms in the temple. Then as we continue to learn precept on precept and keep the commandments and remain pure, we can enter the temple and make more covenants and are given more knowledge. As we follow the Lord, he will be given more knowledge for our lives. We don't get it all at once because it would be too much and we would understand it at a young age, so we get it line upon line at the right time in our lives.
For Andrea, specifically, but everyone:
Today in companionship study, Sister Robinette talked about Alma 27 that she studied in personal study. Verse 16-18 reminded me of this summer. When I saw you at the airport, I was so excited. I still can't explain that feeling exactly. It was the greatest surprise that I have ever had and I felt so much joy that day. In this scripture, Ammon and Alma meet each other and it was a "joyful meeting"! That is what I felt this summer and it meant so much to me and the whole family that you came to visit. Thank you Andrea! I love you.! :) Sometimes I think about when I get home and how wonderful that will be. I am glad to be here, but I do miss you all and can't wait to see you soon. :)
Life is so good! I love you all so much and think of you often. I am so excited for your Peder and I will be thinking of you on November 19th. How blessed we are that there will be 6 out of 7 of the children through the temple already! That truly is amazing!
Love you all! Jesus Christ is the only way to be happy. The Church is true.
Love siempre,
Sister Schillemat
For Kirstin and Jimmy: Paz afuera and Que en el mundo?  :)
They are English Phrases translated into Spanish that I was taught by Hermana Christensen, one of the other sisters in our apartment... The first one is my favorite. ;)